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NEW TRUANCY GUIDELINES IN PLACE FOR TENNESSEE SCHOOLS

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School systems across the state as well as lawmakers are cracking down on truancy. This past session there was a bipartisan effort to crack down on absent students while also keeping them out of court. Democrat Antonio Parkinson of Memphis and McMinn County Republican John Forgety were two of the bipartisan sponsors of the bill. Forgety, who is a retired school superintendent, said the bill deals with students who have five aggregated unexcused absences. While parents are notified, they can also be called in for a series of what’s called progressive truancy interventions with their child. Other options include sending the child to counseling, having them do community service or even Saturday classes if truancy continues. Schools can still refer a truant student to juvenile court, but only after all the new requirements have failed. Many school districts say they have already been doing all they can to keep kids out of court and in school, but now lawmakers are requiring them to do it.